Link Exchanging – Still an Effective Way of Promoting your Website?
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
As we have just launched our newest website, Qatar Visitor, we have been researching ways to promote it.
It’s been well worth the effort as Google has made changes this year to the way they rank websites – and through Matt Cutt’s Google blog these changes have been more transparent than before.
It has become clear is that one method of promoting websites is no longer as effective as before. That method is exchanging links.
Google’s aim is, of course, to maximise internet surfers’ ability to find quality sites. If sites can raise their page ranking just by exchanging links, then this will decrease the validity of the search.
In fact, Google is even penalising excessive link exchanging. However, just moderate link exchanging does not seem to be penalised – just not to carry as much weight as before. Of course, if you exchange links to sites with relevant content you should still boost traffic.
What Google – and therefore you – really want is for people to add (non-reciprocal) links to quality content. This raises the linked sites’ ranking for the right reason – because the sites are good, not because their owners have exchanged links with a thousand other sites.
Submitting your website to directories may also be less effective than before. However, it depends on the directory. The more a directory screens for quality, the more valuable its links will be.
This fits in with Google’s strategy of rewarding quality sites. If a directory only links to sites with good content, then it helps Google to identify quality sites for its users. DMOZ is the ultimate directory to be listed on – although unfortunately, it also seems very difficult to get into.
It’s also worth noting that Google assesses the quality of your own links. If you link to sites which just contain blocks of advertising (probably as a result of link exchanging) Google is likely to penalise your site. If your site is important and contains good quality Google may penalise it by reducing its ability to pass on page ranking.
It seems likely that the opposite is also true, and your website will be rewarded for linking to quality sites; in Qatar Visitor’s directory, we have introduced submission guidelines to help wean out poor quality sites.
To sum up then, websites now need to non-reciprocal links, not reciprocal links. Unfortunately, that’s just a little bit harder.
About the Author: Qatar Visitor provides extensive information on Qatar for tourists, residents and potential residents.